Discovery Channel's Humorous New spots

As part of a new ad campaign, Discovery Channel has launched four new commercials. Particulary amusing are the two called "Transporter" and "Milk Truck."

by Steve Hall    May-28-04    

Boobs Bad For Selling Deodorant

New Zealand's Advertising Standards Board has ruled a TV ad for Cool Charm deodorant exploitive and degrading to women. In the ad, a big breasted female dental assistant is seen in a reveling uniform applying the product (although how that is done while clothed one wonders) while watching the dentist try to get an adolescent boy to open wider.

Not until the nurse walks over to the boy does he open him mouth in astonishment at the site of her hanging cleavage. The Board says the ad "was blatant exploitation of a woman's body to sell a product and demeaning to the profession of dental nursing." All true and the use of an adolescent boy is questionable. On the other hand, it's just an example of what happens in real life when a boy/man is exposed to such a site.

by Steve Hall    May-28-04    

Word of Mouth Marketing Association Announced

A new group dedicated to the promotion and legitimacy of word-of-mouth marketing and measurements was announced this week at Ad-Tech San Francisco. The group is called the Word-of-Mouth Marketing Association, or WOMMA, and is now soliciting interest from key stakeholders in the word-of-mouth industry. WOMMA tentatively plans on announcing a steering committee at the upcoming Ad-Tech Chicago conference in July.

"Word-of-mouth is the most credible and trusted form of advertising, especially in the internet age," said Pete Blackshaw, WOMMA co-organizer and Chief Customer Satisfaction Officer of Intelliseek, a Cincinnati-based firm specializing in online word-of-mouth measurements. "This area is long-overdue for a dedicated seat at the marketing table, especially as traditional ad models erode in effectiveness."

A core goal of WOMMA is to help grow the acceptance and legitimacy of word-of-mouth as part of the broader marketing mix. Key objectives of WOMMA include:

  • Providing word-of-mouth marketers with information, education, relationships and resources that will enrich their careers and programs.
  • Advancing the thought, application and ethical practice of word-of-mouth marketing and measurements.
  • Developing common metrics and vocabulary to facilitate faster, deeper penetration of WOM among potential customers, buyers, and partners.

"Honest, authentic measurable Word-of-Mouth faces the danger of being devalued through interruptive, shill or disingenuous marketing methodologies. WOMMA is being organized to help marketers implement Word-of-Mouth programs that can add value and credibility, without the bad aftertaste," said Dave Balter, CEO of Boston based BzzAgent and a co-organizer of WOMMA.

With the control of media, hence the control of the message, shifting to the consumer, new methods of "seeding" marketing into that control channel will become ever more important to marketers. WOMMA's goal will be to advance this approach.

by Steve Hall    May-28-04    

Viral & Buzz Marketing Association Launches

The launch of the Viral & Buzz Marketing Association (VBMA), an international group for the development, validation and promotion of consumer-oriented marketing trends and techniques, was announced today, with UK- and Australian-based online viral and buzz marketing expert Digital Media Communications (DMC) as one of its founding members.

Justin Kirby, managing director of DMC, explains "Viral and buzz marketing is not new, but the use of these consumer-to-consumer techniques is becoming more prevalent, particularly as the falling effectiveness of traditional, marketer-to-consumer techniques is making advertisers look seriously at other ways to build brand and shift product. We have been talking with likeminded practitioners in the UK, US, France, Germany and other countries for some time now about our growing industry and the need for a formal association to help viral and buzz marketing establish a credible footing within the wider marketing community."

The VBMA aims to create international collaborations, swap case studies, develop best practice and dispel the myths surrounding viral and buzz marketing in order to help it become more widely accepted as a key part of brands� overall marketing activities.

by Steve Hall    May-28-04    

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Weblogs Benefit Ad Agency Business

By now, everyone has heard of weblogs. If you haven't, welcome, you are reading one right now. For various reasons, many people and companies can benefit from blogging. So can ad agencies. Ad agencies are hired for two main reasons. First, and not always most important, is creative. Second is thought leadership - does the agency in question have the smarts to create successful advertising for client companies. Both of these areas of expertise can be shared with the world of potential clients through a weblog.

Right now, agencies might be saying, "What do we need a weblog for? We already have a web site." Great. Take an honest look at it. Is it much more than a creative showcases (if that) and management bios? Aside from a few short paragraphs on your so-called "proprietary process" is there any value there for the reader? Are you offering anything that gives insight into the way your agency thinks and what your opinion is on the current state of advertising? If so, great. Most likely. though it is not.

One of the primary benefits of a weblog to an ad agency is its ability to simply publish current agency thought. What is your agency's take on TiVo's creep into the living room? How do you plan to react to that for your clients? What is your perspective on broadband online video advertising? Viral advertising? Media costs? Will satellite radio kill broadcast radio? What are your thoughts on Subservient Chicken type advertising efforts? Is outdoor a viable medium? What is your agency doing to plan for the shift in media control from media companies to the consumer? Insight on all of these issues and more can demonstrate to clients and prospects how your agency brain ticks. And it can do it without giving up that "proprietary process."

A secondary benefit of publishing a weblog is its proliferation into the databases of Google. Every weblog headline you write is an entry to be searched and found by a potential client. Google and other search engines like continually changing content and that is a primary element of a weblog. Apart from Google, weblog entries permeate themselves into a vast collection of weblog-specific databases and that, along with frequent linking to and from other advertising related weblogs, can propel your agency presence to the forefront of many a search engine inquiry.

Most agencies would like to be able to make a presentation to every single company on its radar. While agencies will continue to go about getting in front of prospects to deliver the all important capabilities presentation, a weblog can do that for literally no money and reach more people. What agency wouldn't love to save overhead and proliferate their brand to as many as possible?

If you do choose to start a weblog, keep in mind the tone needs to be vastly different than your corporate site. The corporate site is your glossy brochure. The weblog is the demonstration of the smarts that walk the hallways of your agency - spoken in a conversational, human tone. Unlike press release quotes that are cleary not spoken by an actual human, a weblog must carry the human aspect of the agency. It�s akin to an insider�s wink that says, �We know you know we have to say those corporate things on our corporate website but we also know you know we are regular people who enjoy tearing down corporate blather as much as you do.�

You can also set your weblog up for newsletter delivery thereby building a database of potential business. There are so many ways a weblog can benefit an ad agency. So many that it is near difficult to explain in words. It�s an endeavor that requires heavy sipping of the blogosphere Kool-Aid. If you�re thirsty and want to drink in more about weblogs and how they can benefit your agency, contact me. I�d love to discuss it with you. Hmm�Did I just create a consulting business there?

by Steve Hall    May-28-04